Sydney Assor, a leading member of the Moroccan Jewish Community in Britain and a member of the British Board of Deputies, has been made a Commander of the Wissam Alaouite.
The award is the highest Moroccan honour accorded to a foreigner. It was conferred on Mr Assor by the Moroccan Ambassador to the UK, Princess Lalla Joumalla.
Sydney Assor wears his medal, conferred on him by Princess Lalla Journalla
Mr Assor has devoted much of his life to interfacing with the Moroccan government about Jewish affairs. Recently, he visited Tunisia and had an audience with the president. He calls Moroccan Jewry "a shining example for successful coexistence
between Jews and Muslims".
Mr Assor has been quoted as saying that he never had trouble defining his identity
as a Moroccan Jew while living in Morocco, and that real persecution in
his lifetime took place only during the Vichy epoch.
He met prejudice when he moved to England, mostly by fellow
Jews, who considered Moroccan Jews uneducated, politically immature and
He conceded that the Jewish community did have its struggles
in Morocco just as anywhere else, but declared that contemporary
Moroccan reality includes Jews enjoying full civic rights and shared
civic dignity. Assor attributed this fact to the inclusive policy
pursued by Kings Mohammed V, Hassan II and Mohammed VI of Morocco.